King Of The Jungle: From ‘True Blood’ To Tarzan, A Look At The Career Of Alexander Skarsgård

In the entertainment industry, Alexander Skarsgård is one of Sweden’s most recognisable faces, having risen to fame in the popular TV show True Blood, playing the charismatic vampire, Eric Northman. Skarsgård will next appear in swinging confidently as the King of the Jungle in The Legend of Tarzan.

Clearly, acting runs in the genes of the Skarsgård family — his father is Hollywood star Stellan Skarsgård, perhaps best know for his role as Dr. Erik Selvig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as Bootstrap Bill in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

In fact, it was through this link that Skarsgård first got into acting, when at just 7-years-old he landed a role in the Swedish film Åke and His World (1984). Six years later, a leading role on Swedish TV in The Dog That Smiled made him a famous face in his home country; however, the attention caused him to quit acting for a number of years.

To the benefit of everyone, Skarsgård returned to his natural trade, and the rest, as they say, is history. To celebrate Skarsgård’s role in Tarzan, let’s take a look at a selection of some of his finest roles:

1. Zoolander (2001)

Yup, believe it or not, the 39-year-old Swede actually appeared in the cult classic comedy. His breakthrough role was as Meekus, a suprisingly dim model who inspired Derek Zoolander to ask him if he’d contemplated if there was more to life than being, well, really, really, really, really, really… Really good looking.

2. True Blood (2008 – 2014)

Skarsgård’s role in the TV series propelled him not only to acting fame, but to top lists of sexist actors around, thanks to his suave yet potentially life threatening role as Eric.

Having originally applied for the role of Bill Compton, Skarsgård was chosen to play the vampire-viking club owner instead, and starred in the show across seven seasons.

3. Melancholia (2011)


Skarsgård had a leading role in the second entry of Lars Von Trier’s sombre “depression trilogy,” playing newlywed Michael. Interestingly, Skarsgård’s father is also in the flick, playing the father of Michael’s wife.

4. What Maisie Knew (2012)


The adaptation of a 1897 novel by Henry James didn’t recuperate its modest budget, but did receive thoroughly positive reviews. Skarsgård stars again in a leading role, and gives a sensitive and nuanced performance.

5. The Diary Of A Teenage Girl (2015)


Another gritty and masterful movie that shows Skarsgård is equally adept at blockbusters and independent, emotive storylines. He has the challenging and multidimensional role of Monroe Rutherford, a man who beds his girlfriend’s teenage daughter.

The film premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and was well received by critics, with a current rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

6. The Legend Of Tarzan (2016)


How could we discuss Skarsgård’s career without mentioning this year’s epic blockbuster? Starring in the lead role opposite Margot Robbie, Skarsgård has the challenge of taking the iconic role of a feral, untamed jungle dweller.

In an interview about the character with the Guardian last year, he spoke of the unique angle the film will take on the classic concept:

“Instead of it being about taming the beast, it’s about the beast within. There’s the dichotomy of functioning in a civilised society where you politely wait at the post office for your turn, but also being an animal with everything that contains. I can relate to it. I think every human being can.”

What is your favorite Skarsgård performance?

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Staff Writer at MP. It ain’t about how hard you’re hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.